The Sitka Hospital Board has not yet come to terms with their candidate for interim CEO, and has turned negotiations over to their attorney.

The board last week met to offer the interim post to Rob Allen, who was their second-pick for the top job when it became open last summer.

At a meeting Monday afternoon (1-12-15) the board became hung up on whether Allen, who is available only through April, would serve as a temporary hospital employee, or as a contractor.

Board president Celeste Tydingco said that she had been advised by Sitka’s municipal attorney to let a pro iron out the final details. She asked for a motion to hand that duty to Mike Gatti, an attorney in Anchorage who serves as Sitka’s outside counsel.

“It would be directing him to have those conversations, to develop something to bring back to us.”

But there were other concerns on the board, besides the details of Allen’s service. Dr. Paul Bahna said he hoped that Allen understood that Sitka Community Hospital was in a jam, and that he was not using it as negotiating leverage.

“He’s our only candidate at this time. So I hope he’ll not take advantage and raise his requirements of salary.”

Bahna said the board had received a lengthy letter from Allen discussing his salary terms, and some of his recommendations for action, and some additional requirements — like two meals a day. The letter was not released to the public.

Bahna wanted to make sure the board’s attorney was aware of some of these conditions.

Municipal administrator Mark Gorman had a further suggestion. He said time was of the essence, and he recommended that the board empower its chair to communicate with the lawyer, rather than requiring him to come back before the full board.

Gorman said he had spoken with Allen just that morning.

“He doesn’t know whether he should buy a plane ticket to get on the plane on Thursday. Events of the last week indicate to me that we need more horsepower and more leadership on board as quickly as possible.”

The board agreed, and voted unanimously to run communications to the attorney through chair Celeste Tydingco.

The board is hoping to come to terms with Rob Allen on a very short-term basis — the former Sitka businessman is returning to his hometown this summer and launching a multi-day charter business. Former hospital CEO Jeff Comer suddenly resigned on January 2, after being on the job only three months.

Comer was earning a salary of $185,000. Although no figures were released Allen, they’ll probably be in that neighborhood.

Before the meeting adjourned, board member Mary Ann Hall pointed to acting CEO Raine Clarke, the hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer, and said, “She’s doing all the work. Why is he getting the big bucks?”